Media Coverage from Vegas
Article run in Lesbian Voice (August 2001, page 15)
Las Vegas Comes Out of the Broom Closet: Pagan Pride Day
People look at you like you've got a disease. They ask you questions that reveal long-held stereotypes. Neighbors and landlords object to your "paraphernalia." Your parents have difficulty talking with you about it, and they aren't sure whether or not they should send a Christmas gift. Friends are afraid to leave their kids with you, fearing that the little darlings might "see something they shouldn't." Your boss tells you just to keep it to yourself, no need in making the whole office feel weird.
Sound familiar? But this time, we're not talking about being an LGBT individual. We're talking about the life of a modern Pagan. Paganism, a combination of various earth-centric religious groups (including Wicca, Druidism, Shamanism, new-ageism, and many more), faces many of the same types of discrimination that LGBT people face.
And to combat that discrimination, a new movement is growing and coming to Las Vegas. The Southern Nevada Pagan community comes "out of the broom closet" this fall with the first annual Pagan Pride Day. Pagan Pride Day will be held at O'Callaghan Park on Sunday, September 30, 2001. Festivities begin at noon and continue until sunset. Admission for Pagan Pride Day will be one nonperishable food item (donated to Safe House) and two cat food items (donated to S.O.S. - Spay Our Strays).
Las Vegas Pagan Pride is held in conjunction with the Autumn Equinox, or Mabon (MAY-bon), one of the 8 holy days or "Sabbats" most Pagans recognize. Mabon is a time of thanksgiving for the harvest. Pagan Pride Day holds a food drive, to share our abundant harvest with others in need, and to make a clear statement to those who have misconceptions about Paganism. Pagans know that their ethics, based on concern for ecology, personal responsibility, and individual freedom, mean that they feel strongly called to actions of social responsibility.
What can you expect to see at Pagan Pride Day? Entertainment will be atmospheric in nature, with strolling musicians, street magicians, and performers of all sorts. A merchant's row will be set up to peddle everything from incense and magic potions to information about local Pagan groups. A special children's area will be established with games and fun for the young and their big people. A craft table will host many exciting hobbies to expand your mind. Several fabulous items have been donated by local businesses, and will be raffled off throughout the day.
The goal of Pagan Pride Day is to promote tolerance through education. Through educational activities, openly held rituals, and informational booths and discussions, event organizers hope to share their spiritual beliefs with many who may not have experienced non-Christian or other mainstream religious beliefs before.
Come out to learn more about your brothers and sisters, come out to participate in or enjoy the rituals of thanksgiving, come out to buy magic supplies, or just come out to enjoy a day in the park with others. Las Vegas Pagan Pride Day is being sponsored by New Age Outlets, GeoSoul.com, The Psychic Age, and Pagans R Us. To learn more about Pagan Pride Day, please visit home.gay.com/IshkaTheWitch/LasVegasPaganPrideProject.